Just a Nightmare
(Part II: Enter the Nightmare)
For a while it had seemed as if she were reading a very good book. Bra had experienced times when she'd been so caught up in a novel that it was as if she were the person in the story. Things were done and words were said that she had absolutely no control over.
But, there was one major difference: she remembered seeing one of the main characters in real life.
Suddenly, it was no longer fiction but stark reality. She was seeing something through the eyes of another living, breathing being; a memory. "What's going on?" she whispered, or at least tried to. No sounds would form other than those the person whose body she was currently inhabiting chose to speak.
She saw the entire battle from start to finish, and saw in detail what they'd already known. The demon had been sealed away by a single devout follower borrowing power from her goddess. Unfortunately, she knew that Dende didn't have that kind of ability to give.
"These are my memories, Bra. This is how I defeated Nightmare on my planet." Everything was whisked away until only featureless darkness remained and the priestess' white robe shone in bright contrast against it. It was as if she radiated light. "I believe I can help you despite what your gods say."
"Really? We have a chance, then?" Bra slowly smiled. "At first, it was like tousan and papa could do anything. They were the heroes and no bad guy stood a chance against them. Then I saw him defeat them and I knew that it wouldn't be as easy as I thought."
The priestess smiled as well. "Anything is possible as long as there is hope. You know, Bra, you're very similar to the way I was as a child. Intelligent. Sophisticated. Inquisitive. Helpful. Kind. I see deep kinship between the two of us and that helped me to make the decision to aid your people." She sat down and patted the space beside her invitingly. Bra accepted.
"After sending Nightmare away, my people lived peacefully for thousands of years. We rebuilt what had been destroyed and regained what had been lost. Then, Etha came to me and said that the demon had escaped from his imprisonment. I admit, after I discovered that he wasn't in our dimension, I was relieved." K'sorde looked ashamed of herself. "I apologize for that. My negativity could have very well cost you, and those you love, your lives. Things often work in strange ways."
Bra waved away her apology. "Your people were hurt by him, it's only natural that you felt that way."
"I see that my estimation of you was very correct," she smiled. "After a short while, I went in search of a mage who could forge a connection between my dimension and yours. It isn't a very easy thing to do and Meilyn wasn't sure that it would work at first, but here I am. My body is actually rooted very firmly to the soil of Remnar while my mind is free to wander."
"How will you help us?"
She sighed. "This is where things become a little... troublesome. I am unable to help you bind him at the moment because your gods discovered and informed me that I could not interfere until the situation was dire. Unfortunately, to them, things can be still salvaged without my help."
Shocked beyond belief, she merely stared at the priestess for a moment. "They really told you that?"
"I'm afraid so."
"Many things come to mind in response to that, but none of them are very nice." K'sorde laughed and Bra soon joined in.
Wiping a few escaped tears from her eyes, the priestess said, "I will help, Bra, but not until an undetermined period in the future."
"I understand. Can you send me back, or wake me up, or do whatever it is you have to do so that I'm out of this place? Papa must be having a heart-attack by now."
"He has been more than a little worried about you. They all have." The robe-garbed form of K'sorde began fading and with it went the sound of her voice. "Just when you think things are hopeless, I will be there."
The sun was rising when Bra began to stir. Her head was still pillowed on her father's lap, but no one else was in the room save a deeply sleeping Goku (who was snoring away in a recliner). Everyone else had either gone home to bed or had gone in search of the dragonballs. Her eyes opened and she looked around as much as she could without waking her father. Vegeta slept very lightly, unfortunately, and had started on the rise to wakefulness the moment she first moved.
"Papa," she whispered when he opened his eyes to look at her. They were slightly red-rimmed as if he'd been crying. That was something she'd never bore witness to and hoped that she never had the chance. The mere thought of her strong father crying did weird things to her mind. "Don't be sad. I'm okay."
Vegeta didn't say a word, only gathered her in his arms and hugged her tightly. Bra's eyes widened in absolute shock. They sat there silently for several moments, the Saiya-jin, apparently, regaining his composure. "Bra-chan, I love you. I don't say that nearly as often as I should."
"Maybe I should faint like that more often, then!" she joked, but her grin faded when the serious look on his face didn't change. "You don't need to tell me every day, Papa. I know just by the way you treat me. Now," she rubbed her stomach as she stretched, "how about some breakfast?"
That was when Goku decided to wake up. He yawned hugely and asked, "Did someone mention breakfast?"
"How predictable," Vegeta said with a smirk. Bra started to giggle as she climbed off the couch. She would never get tired of hearing either of them say things like that.
"It's a good question because I'm-"
"We know, we know; you're hungry." This was stated in unison. "When aren't you?"
Grinning, Goku asked, "Have you two been practicing? It's perfect." He scratched himself in places that were vaguely indecent and blushed when he realized what he was doing in front of his step-daughter. "Um, I'm going to go take a shower. Y'know, in the... shower place."
"Bathroom," Bra supplied.
"Hai, there." He blushed again, this time at being flustered, and disappeared from the room.
Breakfast was ready by the time he returned, his face once again a normal color. Bra filled Tigger's food dish and took her usual seat across from Trunks and Goten. "Ohayo, Niichans." Her only response was a duo of tired yawns. She smiled at them sweetly. "Up late last night?"
"Cute, Bra," Trunks answered with a frown. "Real cute."
Vegeta wasn't paying the least bit of attention to the morning banter; he was trying to come up with a plan. Nightmare was both immortal and invulnerable and he'd never fought an enemy like that before. Goku, Gohan, Kuririn, and Piccolo had, a long time ago, but Gohan was the true hero of both battles.
Garlic Junior had wished for immortality with Kami's dragonballs and it made him impossible to kill as well. The only thing that could stop his evil plans was to trap him within his own realm of the dead, an act Gohan performed. He hadn't opened the gateway, merely used it as a tool to save the world.
Who could open a gateway for them? Who had the power to bend the very fabric of time and space itself to their will? "We need a plan," he said aloud, his voice cutting into two different conversations. The four of them fell silent in contemplation.
"I have a suggestion that none of you will like," Bra said. "You want to know what I saw? K'sorde came to me after I watched the battle between her and Nightmare and told me that she would help us." She paused to gauge their reactions and sighed a little at the hope she found there. It would make telling them the next part very difficult. "Unfortunately, the kaios won't let her until it's almost too late."
"That's not so bad," Goku said slowly. "When will things be bad enough?"
Shrugging, she answered, "We have to stall, Tousan. I don't know for how long."
He frowned at the tablecloth. "It's possible to delay him for a day, but any more than that... What did they do when I was coming to help, 'geta?"
For a moment, he was incredibly confused, but the memory of his very first battle on Chikyuu came to him. "After I figured that they were telling the truth, we just waited out on the battlefield. The promise of a strong warrior worked with me, with Cell, and with Majin Buu. I doubt that it will work with Nightmare. The only thing he seems to want is death."
"Okay, then. It's time to talk to Dende."
He was waiting for them when they arrived although he didn't budge from he spot where he stood observing Chikyuu. Before anyone could ask, he began to speak about the new enemy.
"I had a brief thought earlier this morning. We had a plan long ago to trap Majin Buu in the Room of Space and Time so that he could never get free. It didn't work for Buu, but I had hope that it would work for Nightmare." Dende turned to look at them, a sad expression on his face. "Do you know how he entered this world?"
"Kaioshin didn't tell us that," Goku answered.
"He opened a gateway between Hell and our dimension then crossed over. The Room would not be able to hold him for very long." He turned back to the slowly spinning planet beneath him, the white swirls of clouds over masses of green and brown surrounded by blue blurred as his eyes filled with tears. He felt so useless and unfit to be Kami. "I don't know what to do," he whispered almost without sound. They all heard him anyway.
Vegeta immediately began to comment in a way similar to how he spoke to the other deities and Goku covered his mouth with his hand. "Do you know anything that can help us, Dende?" he asked. "We need to keep him busy for a while."
"How long of a while?"
Bra answered after thinking for a moment. "About two or three days. We need to convince Kaioshin to let K'sorde help us."
He added more information that just might be able to help. "When Nightmare kills people, he doesn't do it outright. The demon takes his time and turns each death into a game."
An idea formed inside Goku's mind that made his eyes light up. "The world's deadliest game of tag!"
Dende blinked at him, confused. "Excuse me?"
"Hai. Somehow I make him angry and get him to chase me. Then I use my Instantaneous Movement technique so that he can't ever catch up!"
"But you can only teleport to a ki."
"I know. I can tell five or so people to fly out to different parts of the world so I can move to them. That way, Nightmare would spend so much time trying to find me that he wouldn't care about killing more people."
"Much effort will be needed to force his complete attention onto you. What would you have to do to make him that angry?" The last was rhetorical as the young Kami tried to think of a way; he could not. "I saw the fight between you and Nightmare over the ruins of that once great city. You and Vegeta both attacked him with little effect."
"Would you say that he likes a challenge?" Bra asked.
"Well, of course. Why else would he encourage people to try to escape from him?" The mere thought of the cruelty Nightmare had shown to those poor people made Dende shudder.
"If he challenges Nightmare that should be enough to interest him."
He was completely in awe of her words and more than a little surprised. "I never knew that you were such a smart little girl."
She smiled sweetly. "Obviously you haven't been paying close enough attention. C'mon, guys. We have to go follow tousan's plan."
Both Saiya-jin looked at her, eyebrows raised. "We?" they asked in unison.
"Okay, you." She sighed. "When will I be big enough to fight evil?"
Vegeta actually thought about her question instead of just immediately answering, "Never", which surprised her to no end. "Obtain the ability to transform into Super Saiya-jin and we'll see."
"I can still help you now, though. Please take me to see kaioshin. I want to talk to him."
"How can you even hope to change the mind of the most powerful god in existence?" Dende asked her. "Your father couldn't do it and neither could Goku-san."
Bra gave him another condescending smile. "I'm going to present a case to him that he can't ignore." Motioning to Goku, she took a few steps towards him. "I'm ready."
Suppressing his amusement, Goku took her hand and teleported them to the afterlife.
She asked an ogre for directions and was led straight to the Dai Kaio's grand palace. There she stood impatiently in the throne room for him to arrive, not even interested in the strange people conversing around her. Eventually, Bra grew tired of waiting. Raising her small voice, she tried to speed up the arrival of the gods. "This is really, really important!" she shouted. "You're taking so long that the ningen might be all gone by the time I get back!"
"SHH!" about ten people said, forefingers placed upon lips. She ignored them all.
A small door off to the right of the throne opened and he stepped through. He approached her, smiling pleasantly. "What brings you here, Bra?"
Blue eyes narrowed. "You know why. Do we all have to die for you to do something to help us? What have we ever done to deserve being destroyed by evil?"
"Nothing," he said. "You've done nothing at all. In this case, the scales of justice have overbalanced and the Universe has been thrown into chaos." He sighed. "We can do nothing. While both the Dai Kaio and I have the power to entrap him once again in Hell, we are forbidden to use it unless we have no other choice. Nightmare does not threaten all of existence.... just the ningen's existence."
Her face turned a deep red color, but she remained utterly silent. Several times she paced back and forth across the shiny marble floor. When she finally spoke, her voice was quiet and did not belie the rage she felt inside. "Do you really think he will stop with Chikyuu? He loves killing; it makes his entire world go 'round. From our planet, to the galaxy, to the entire northern section of the universe. Then, because Buu took care of everything else out there, he'll just rip a hole in space and move on to another dimension. Papa told me a story once about Majin Buu. When he was going to rip holes in the fabric of time and space, you panicked. Why? Because it destabilizes everything. Nightmare is fully capable of doing the same exact thing. Eventually, he will do so.
"K'sorde offered to help us and you people won't let her. No one else besides you two have the power to send him back." She stared him directly in the eyes. "Promise me that you won't wait until it's too late."
His warring emotions were written all over his face. On one hand, he was quite ready to abandon the rules set forth by the Dai Kaioshin so many millennia ago. On the other hand, he knew that those rules were in place for good reason. Without them, order would cease to exist.
"I promise on my honor," he said finally, "and, if what you said is true, then her help will come soon."
"Fine, great, okay." She exhaled deeply. "Will you give me a tour? Tousan can't come get me and I need something to do."
"I can take you back."
Bra thought about his offer and then shook her head. "I'm not refusing because I don't trust you. I'm refusing because I don't want them worrying about me. Gohan really didn't want to look after me, I know. He's not comfortable with his new family."
He nodded. "I've seen. He mistrusts your father a great deal despite the fact that Goku trusts him with his life, his heart, and his soul. Gohan was only a little boy when Vegeta first came to Chikyuu, you know. It will take him many more years to forget that what the Saiya-jin no Ouji once was is not what he is now."
"I understand," she told him and she did. Bra didn't have to like it, but she understood.